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The light at the end of the tunnel

By Rabbi Aharon Gabbay

In the recent months, there have been epic moments of bonding with Hashem. A variety of emotions have filled our hearts. We have toiled through a powerful month of Elul consisting of cries to our Creator, building up to Rosh Hashanah, where we declared the kingship of Hashem. And then Yom Kippur, where our slate was wiped clean because of our yearning to be one with Hashem. Chag Sukkot is merely a conclusion of an outstanding journey of building ourselves.

A parable is told of a man who has a shop full of antiques. One day, his young child negligently runs into the room and knocks over numerous of the priceless possessions causing great damage, making most of the stock worthless. The father is distraught and approaches his son, but before any rebuke leaves his mouth, the son raises his head and engages eye contact with his beloved father displaying realisation of his mistake and regret of his actions. At that moment, the father cannot help but embrace his son with love. The father explains that he forgives the son full heartedly but requests that he help him clear up the mess. Once the store is spotless, the father takes his son by the hand, leads him out of the shop and they spend the rest of the day in unison.

The father is Hashem and we are the son. We are unfortunately responsible for many sins and damage in this world. We then approach Elul and fill our hearts with regret and remorse. After realising where we should be standing, we identify our father in heaven that we love dearly and show Him that all we yearn for is to do His will; this is Rosh Hashana. On Yom Kippur and Hashem tells us all we have to do is clean up the mess, and so we spend a whole day fasting and crying our hearts out for forgiveness.

Chag sukkot is where Hashem takes us by the hand and walks us outside so we are exclusively with Him!

There is an opinion in the Gemara that the schach (roof) of the succah resembles the ‘ananei ha’kavod’, the clouds of glory which would protect the Jewish people from snakes, scorpions, arrows and would even lower mountains and fill valleys to enable them to walk on straight ground. When we enter our succahs we are reminded of the security and warmth that is generated for us and we should feel that our Creator would never abandon His precious child. Succot is also the only festival referred to as ‘zman simchatenu’, time of happiness – there is no greater happiness than the reassurance that a father is there for his son.

During the days of succot we are commanded to leave the house and enter a realm where we are united with Hashem, so He can show us that no matter what happens, he will be watching over us like father to son. Succot gives an underlining message of the unconditional love that is shared with us and to help us realise that we are never alone.

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